But we are reminded that Joseph was a ""son of David"" v. He had an eternal perspective that allowed him to be faithful in what God called him to do. It was from the shadows that Joseph looked into the face of God in the flesh. As you prepare to celebrate the birth of ""God with us,"" there are several things you can do to help make your Christmas Eve memorable. Second, choose a favorite Christmas song to play in your home today. Be sure to make Christmas Eve a spiritual highlight in your home. Similarly, no Roman newsperson was likely to have picked up from the news wires the story of a baby born to poor parents in a remote region of a troubled country.
These glorious messengers knew that the most newsworthy event in the history of the world had occurred--the Savior had been born! All of history points to and centers around this one event. Recall that Isaiah also lived in a troubled country. As the nation of Judah faced what seemed to be its destruction Isa. In fact, Matthew cited this verse as he wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the birth narrative of Jesus Matt.
The virginal conception of Jesus remains a unique event in all of history.gatsbygroup.co.uk/urban-faith-student-sustaining-hope.php
If your pastor announced an upcoming sermon series on the first seventeen verses of Matthew, most of the people in your church would probably wonder what kind of preaching they were in for. The genealogy of Joseph in Matthew 1 contains some familiar names, including Abraham, David, and Solomon.
There are other names we hope will be familiar to you after these studies, such as Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah. Notice a couple of interesting things about this list. Rahab, the mother of Boaz, was a non-Israelite prostitute in Jericho who became a believer in God. Jeconiah Mt is another name for Jehoiachin, the king of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar took captive. The first Christmas card was designed by the English illustrator John Horsley in at the request of a friend. Horsleys greeting card resembled a postcard depicting a large family enjoying a Christmas celebration.
The people who received the cards were so delighted with them that they began designing and sending out cards of their own, establishing a long-standing Christmas tradition. We hope you will receive the next weeks worth of studies as our Christmas card to you, a biblical portrait of the greatest story ever told that comes with our prayers for a happy and blessed Christmas in your home.
As we mentioned on September 1, we are laying aside the book of Colossians for Christmas week to review the story of Christs birth and worship Him. But even though we wont be studying Colossians for a few days, dont let go of the books central theme, the uniqueness and supremacy of Christ. Jesus uniqueness as Gods only Son, born of a virgin, is the truth that permeates the Bibles accounts of His birth.
The events of Christmas help explain why Paul could write with confidence, In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form Col. The apostle Matthews report of Jesus birth begins and ends with the supernatural and the miraculous. Matthew simply states what Luke explains in more detail, the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Josephs reluctance to take Mary as his wife, and his desire to shield her from public humiliation, testify to his godly and tender character. An angelic visit informed Joseph of the truth, and he obeyed God immediately.
Matthew recorded two more angelic visits to Joseph, emphasizing Josephs part in the unfolding of Gods prophetic plan for the birth of His Son. Matthews interest in Joseph is natural, given his Gospels focus on the lineage of Joseph The angels greeting, Joseph son of David, is very significant. Because Joseph was a descendant of David himself, his lineage established the rightness of Jesus claim to the title Messiah, the Son of David.
The closer we get to Christmas, the more frantic some peoples lives become. Like many of us, you have probably promised yourself more than once, Next year, Christmas is going to be different. Well, next year is here and you have a full week to make your Christmas a Christ-centered, Christ-honoring holiday. One way you can do that is to pray over your gift list.
Why not ask God to help you spend wisely, and choose gifts that will reflect your love for the recipients and enhance their celebration of Christs birth? And you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. After the little one's arrival, the couple quickly learns that they spend an awful lot of time changing the baby! But the baby does change the parents' schedule, their sleep patterns, their priorities, and so much more than any advice can prepare them to handle.
For Joseph and Mary, the baby really did change everything. The history of the world has been formally divided into two sections: before their baby and after. Even before the angel came, Joseph handled the news of Mary's pregnancy with great dignity and self-control. But in this culture, the degree of their commitment at this state surpassed the modern sense of engagement—a divorce was required to dissolve the union. Joseph had ample reason to be angry, but he had two distinct motivations, neither of which involved anger.
He planned to divorce Mary because he was righteous, which shows he loved God. He planned to do so quietly to spare her shame, which shows he loved Mary. After the angel's revelation to him in a dream, Joseph's love for Mary and his faith in God both proved genuine. Of all the hardships the Son of God would face—being born in a stable, attacked by Herod, persecuted, tortured, and executed—God ensured He had one advantage that relatively few children ever enjoy.
Jesus had two godly parents who loved each other deeply. The Bible doesn't say either parent was perfect, but it clearly depicts a love that provided a wonderful family environment for rearing a child. God entrusted His Son into the care of people who knew how to love and obey. We have seen repeatedly through Scripture just how vital those traits are in any love story—even the love story between Jesus and the world began with two loving, God-honoring parents.
Of all the things God has asked His followers to do—to give birth as a virgin, lead a million people through the middle of a sea, build a boat that can survive a global flood, invade a land inhabited by giants, and spend a week marching around a fortified city—the commands to love and obey God sound fairly easy to follow, and yet are so often ignored. They are so important. Throughout the day, ask yourself two simple questions: Am I loving?
Am I obeying? Stay in regular communication with God and seek His help. Are you baking Christmas cookies? Wrapping presents? Or possibly trimming the tree? No, your calendar doesn't need adjusting. We know it isn't Christmas Day. But these classic ""Christmas texts"" are a powerful witness to the fulfillment of Isaiah's Servant prophecies in the life of Jesus. The angel's announcement to Joseph emphasized that even at this early stage in Mary's pregnancy, the baby in her womb was already a very special Person Isa. Jesus' existence did not begin with His conception by the Holy Spirit.
But from the standpoint of Christ's earthly ministry, the Father set Him apart in Mary's womb to be the Savior of His people Israel--and of the world. The salvation that Jesus came to bring to Israel was the focus of Zechariah's praise in Luke Isaiah leaves no doubt as to the Servant's purpose in bringing Israel back to the Lord. Although the nation rejected Him at His first offer of salvation, the Servant will come again to redeem His people and establish His kingdom.
Even Jesus' name was not left to human decision. This also referred to the extent to which God intended the name of His Redeemer to be proclaimed. Also in Isaiah , the Servant called on all the distant lands to hear His proclamation of God's special blessing upon Him. This was partially fulfilled in the visit of the Magi see September These nobles from a far land came in response to God's sign of the star of Bethlehem.
Their coming stirred up Herod's court in Jerusalem and led to the chief religious teachers citing Micah's prophecy of a coming One who would be ""the shepherd of my people Israel"" Mt. It is also possible that this is a reference to Gentile peoples coming to faith Isa. Since we are talking about Christmas here in late summer, let's enjoy a little ""Christmas spirit"" this weekend. What's your favorite Christmas activity?
Perhaps it's getting a card or gift for a loved one. Or it may include a special meal with friends or family. And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of Days has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger.
And He who cannot be touched, who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation [be] the measure of His goodness. The Christmas story, rightly understood, should fill our hearts with praise. First, we see many Old Testament prophecies fulfilled.
Isaiah had foretold the virgin birth of the Messiah Mt ; Isa. Micah had said His birthplace would be Bethlehem Mt ; Mic. Hosea had spoken of a time in Egypt Mt ; Hos. Jeremiah had foreseen the horrifying violence of Herod Mt ; Jer. We also rejoice because God intervened in miraculous ways throughout the Christmas story. Jesus was born of a virgin—somehow, the Holy Spirit engineered His conception outside of the normal means Mt And how did the Magi know where and when to come to find the newborn King?
God was clearly at work in their knowledge, the star they followed, and the dream, warning not to tell Herod. Go for it! It remains to be seen whether our generation will witness another transfer of power as extraordinary as the passing of Hong Kong from British to Chinese control.
The final days and weeks before the July 1transferthis year were hectic and, at times, tension-filled. Hong Kong governor Christopher Patten packed his last days in office with a dizzying schedule of events and appearances, then departed the city in style on board the British royal yacht Britannia, accompanied by Prince Charles spectacular, transfer of power in the universe is still ahead. It will come when Jesus Christ returns to claim the kingdoms of this world from Satan and usher in His millennial kingdom.
Then all earthly powers, and Satan himself, will be shown to be merely temporary usurpers. No distance, inconvenience, or expense was too great a price for them to pay to see the newborn King. The time they actually arrived in Bethlehem is open to interpretation. What they did when they got there is not. They worshiped Jesus and brought Him their finest gifts v Some day, the baby of Bethlehem will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords church and Lord of all those who claim Him as their Savior.
Is Jesus ruling in your heart today as Lord? He will take no lesser title. The celebration of Christmas and approach of a new year is a great time for you to reaffirm your submission to the Lordship of Christ in your heart and in your home. Astronomers as well as theologians have long been fascinated by the star that the Magi followed. If it was an actual scientific event, what could it have been? Historical records and computer simulations have been used to try to help solve this mystery.
Another idea is that it was a supernova recorded by Chinese historians in 5 b. Law professor Rick Larson believes it was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2 b. The Bible doesn't tell us exactly what the star was. Here's what we do know: despite what our Nativity sets show us, the Magi did not arrive on the night of Jesus' birth, but sometime later. The Magi were scholars or wise men, perhaps astronomers or astrologists.
They came from the east, presumably meaning east of Palestine, so many scholars guess that the Magi came from Persia or southern Arabia. They certainly seemed unfamiliar with the local political context, particularly the infamous brutality of King Herod in response to any perceived challenge to his rule. They knew a king had been born, and they also knew in what country it happened.
We don't know what prophecies or traditions led them to their interpretations and conclusions, but we do know that nature is a witness to the Creator Ps. No matter how it happened, we know that God had led these Magi to testify about the birth of His Son as an integral part in this story. Though we aren't Magi being physically guided by a star, we can still look at the stars in the sky to marvel at God's magnificent creation and His creative power.
If you have a telescope and weather permits, spend time looking at the night sky. As you gaze at the stars, reflect on how God directed the Magi and protected Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. If there's a planetarium nearby, you could visit a star show with a friend and then discuss the way that God used a star as part of the story of the birth of Jesus. The variety of images is staggering.
Given this human tendency, it is worth asking, what is my mental picture of Jesus? Does it match the person revealed in Scripture? Today we are looking at two New Testament images of Jesus as King. One is quite familiar to us--Jesus as infant King who is visited by Magi from the east. The other is perhaps less familiar—Jesus as returning Warrior-Messiah-King who judges the nations. Both images of Jesus as King involve the insight of faith. The Magi who saw in the baby Jew a king worthy of worship were full of faith, as was John, in his vision of Jesus in full and potent monarchy.
Are we seeing Jesus with eyes of faith? The images of kingship are distinct. To look upon this rider with blazing eyes, many crowns, and sword-like tongue is to see the power and majesty of Jesus revealed Rev Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? Bethlehem is located six miles south of Jerusalem. We previously read the prophecy, quoted from Micah , that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Matt.
People in the Mediterranean world, whether they were Jews or not, were hoping for a leader who would guide their nations out of submission to Rome and into a golden age of order and prosperity. The Magi were priests who specialized in the study of the stars and planets. They were also skilled in philosophy, medicine, and science. Thus, they set out to find Him. In contrast to the Magi, King Herod was an evil man, who was insanely suspicious.
If he suspected anyone to be a rival to his power, that person was promptly eliminated. He murdered his wife, her mother, and three of his sons. It is obvious how such a man would feel when news reached him that a child destined to be a king had been born. In actuality, though, Herod had no intentions of worship; he planned to kill the child. You may be finishing your last-minute Christmas shopping. But have you thought of what you will give to Jesus? It was winter, the villages they passed through were unfriendly and expensive, and many people thought their journey was foolish.
They persisted, however, and found the Christ-child. After their return, they realized that their journey had been spiritual as well as physical. For those who encounter Christ, the journey of life is transformed. This is where pilgrimage begins. Those who seek find, and those who find are forever changed. The journey of the Magi is an archetypal quest story. Who were they? Probably Gentile scholars from Persia or even Babylon.
What were they looking for?
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Their information was surprisingly specific. They knew the nation Israel , the event a birth , and its significance a king. How did they know? They may have had access to Jewish books. The rabbis that Herod consulted gave the wise men the last piece of the puzzle—the specific destination of Bethlehem.
But none went with them to see if the promise of a Messiah had indeed been fulfilled. Only these dedicated foreigners followed the star to the house where Mary, Joseph and Jesus were. Their two-year search had finally come to an end! Theologians and astronomers have proposed numerous theories, including a comet, a conjunction of planets, and a supernatural light. Check out sources at your local public or church library or on the Internet to reach your own conclusions. What would a scientist with a telescope have seen? Why or why not? Franz Gruber was distraught. It was Christmas Eve, , when Gruber, the church organist in the little town of Oberndorf, Bavaria, discovered that his organ was broken.
The town was snowbound, and no one in Oberndorf could fix the organ. So Gruber asked church vicar Joseph Mohr to compose a song the congregation could sing without the organ. Early on Christmas Day, Mohr handed his new poem to Gruber, who quickly composed a melody. The people sang the song, and loved it. What Mohr gave Gruber, and what the two of them gave the world, has become a treasured Christmas gift around the world: Silent Night. The Magi traveled a rigorous journey to give treasured gifts to Jesus when they arrived in Bethlehem sometime after His birth. These were lavish gifts, given as an act of worship by these prominent visitors from the east.
These men stepped into the Christmas narrative for a short time and then disappeared. Someone has suggested that it would take more than three men to stir up all of Jerusalem. Whatever the case, they were looking for a coming King. When they saw the star of Bethlehem, they knew their expectation had been fulfilled. The star of God ""went ahead of them"" to guide the Magi Mt --like the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites--until it had led them to Jesus.
The irony of Matthew 2 is that foreigners announced to the leaders of Israel that their own King had been born. The indifference of the nation is stunning. The chief priests and teachers of the law knew exactly what the Magi were talking about, but apparently made no effort to search out the truth for themselves. Even the wicked King Herod was more curious than those who should have been at the head of the line in Bethlehem, worshiping their Messiah. But the Magi got to share in the birth of the Savior. They were the first to offer Jesus gifts that represented the best they had--the same gift He wants from us today!
The day after Christmas is a good time to talk about the importance of maintaining an eternal perspective. Is there an area of your Christian life or witness that God may want you to strengthen in the year ahead? Pray for insight on how to be the best you can be for His sake. A study conducted between and asked former Muslims from 30 countries why they decided to follow Jesus. For many, the role of dreams and visions was significant; 27 percent reported dreams before they decided to follow Christ, 40 percent cited dreams at the time of their conversion, and 45 percent described dreams and visions after their conversion.
Often the pre-conversion dreams featured a loved one urging them to follow Jesus, and post-conversion visions gave encouragement during trials like imprisonment. Our passage today has a mix of God speaking through dreams as well as His Word to reveal Himself. Before that, let's look at some of the main characters in this dramatic passage. Herod the Great embodied brutality. His duplicitous and murderous ways were on display, as he attempted to trick the Magi and then slaughtered the infants of Bethlehem.
The Magi came from the east perhaps Persia or Arabia to worship the new king. We saw in Matthew 1 the presence of non-Israelite women as important links in the genealogy of Jesus. Here we find non-Israelites responding to Him with joy, worship, and gifts. Finally, God speaks through both dreams and Scripture.
One principle here is that God's leading will not contradict His revealed Word. He used dreams to guide Joseph in specific actions, always in harmony with Scripture. Another principle is that God requires obedience to His Word. Our text today presents us with three alternative responses to the birth of Jesus: Herod heard the word about the coming shepherd of Israel, and he reacted angrily that his plans might be upset.
The chief priests and teachers of the law also heard, and they decided to do nothing. The Magi heard this word, and they acted on it—they made the trip to Bethlehem where they found Jesus. When we are confronted with God's Word, how will we respond—in fury, failure, or faith? When the unspeakable truth of the Holocaust then became known at the end of the war, all too many of us claimed that they had not known anything about it or even suspected anything.
King Herod the Great is the bad boy of today's passage, but the people he ruled deserve scrutiny as well. The desperate fear of losing power drove Herod to murder, but he wasn't alone in his apprehension. The Magi don't appear to have come directly to Herod, but to Jerusalem in general—the text doesn't specifically say they came to Herod's palace. The Magi may have asked around Jerusalem looking for the newborn King before word got to Herod about the foreign visitors.
We do know for certain that the entire city was troubled by the news of the birth of the Christ Mt But the Magi were looking in the wrong city, as the priests and scribes knew from Micah's prophecy Micah Then Herod acted on his own, summoning the Magi privately and covertly sending them in the hope of destroying this threat to his rule Mt , Herod's reaction and Jerusalem's as well to the news of Christ's birth is brought into sharp relief by the generous worship of the foreign wise men.
The people of Jerusalem doubted the Magi's astronomical claims; those who believed in the fulfillment of prophecy and the birth of Messiah were the Magi who responded with worship and the wicked King Herod who reacted with violence. Herod ordered the execution of all boys age two and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem, an attempt to hold on to power. It's unlikely that any of us wield the type of power Herod of Great had, but there are at least two applications we can draw from studying his actions.
First, we should never have so tight a grip on our position or our possessions that we aren't willing to surrender to the plan of God. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Last summer, Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University announced that he had found the tomb of Herod the Great at a dig south of Jerusalem. He had been searching for the tomb at the site, which was Herod's summer palace, since He and his team knew they had found what they were looking for when they unearthed an enormous staircase, built for Herod's funeral procession, and an elaborately decorated limestone sarcophagus.
It had been smashed and no bones were found in it. Netzer explained that the palace had been raided by Jewish rebels in a. The discovery has been hailed as a milestone in biblical and Near Eastern archaeology. Herod, of course, played an infamous role in the Christmas story. We've seen various responses to the story thus far, including faith, doubt, amazement, praise, confusion, reflection, and rejoicing. Herod cared nothing for stars and saviors—he saw only the threat of competition. This viewpoint is the Incarnation as seen through the eyes of worldly power. The king called together Jewish religious scholars and asked where such a king would be born.
They knew the Scriptures and gave him the correct answer: Bethlehem Mt ; Micah As we see throughout the Christmas story, but especially in the Gospel of Matthew, the birth of Christ fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies. If you have time for deeper or more extensive study, this is a good topic. How many prophecies does the New Testament identify as being fulfilled in the birth of Christ? In what ways were they fulfilled?
How do the fulfillments compare to the original contexts of the prophecies? Can you identify any running themes? What do these fulfilled prophecies mean to you today? A spider, wishing to do something for the Christ child, spun its web across the entrance to block the wind. They left the holy family in peace. The angel of the Lord once again appeared to Joseph and told him to flee, because Herod would try to murder Jesus.
Joseph instantly obeyed Mt Perhaps the soldiers drew a circle around Jerusalem with the radius as far south as Bethlehem and as far north as Ramah. They killed all the young boys within that territory, fulfilling the words of Jeremiah that are quoted in Matthew In Jeremiah 31 she is pictured crying for the exiles at Ramah, a deportation point during the Babylonian captivity.
Now we have seen all four prophecies dealing with locations in the birth of Christ fulfilled: born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt, weeping in Ramah, and called a Nazarene. When originally given by the Old Testament prophets, these prophecies may have seemed strange and unreal. Look over the previous days of December, particularly the Old Testament passages. Make a list of the other prophecies regarding Jesus that you can find. That is, Herod represents the worriers while the Magi, Joseph, and Mary represent the worshipers.
In reality, they were disturbed because they knew that they had shed innocent blood. We know we have truly worshiped God not just when we have offered up thanksgiving for what He has done, but when we have obeyed what He tells us to do. The worriers at the crucifixion got nowhere, and neither did Herod. But the worshipers in each case were blessed as God once again used humanly weak and insignificant vessels to confound the mighty.
Instant Retreat - The story is told of a great military commander who sat by an evening fire with several of his officers to discuss the day's battle. He asked the officers, ""Who did the best today on the field of battle? The commander heard them out, then said, ""No, I fear you are all mistaken. Instantly, he dropped his arm without striking and retreated, an act the commander called ""perfect and ready obedience to the will of his general.
Today's reading demonstrates that Joseph and Mary obeyed God in the same spirit of promptness and submission. The story of Jesus' circumcision and Mary's purification in Luke 2 precedes the family's flight into Egypt, possibly by a number of months. But both accounts reveal Jesus' parents' perfect and ready obedience to the will and direction of God.
Apparently, Jesus was circumcised in Bethlehem on the eighth day after His birth, in obedience to the Law Lev. Then, in accordance with the Law, Mary remained ceremonially ""unclean"" for an additional thirty-three days. At the end of that time, she and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to present the prescribed sacrifice Lev. Since the couple offered doves or pigeons rather than a lamb, we know that they were poor. Joseph's obedience to the angelic warnings was much more dramatic than his obedience to the Law.
Fleeing to Egypt must have been the last thing on his mind. But he and Mary did exactly that, just because God said to! We know that more happened here in God's plan than merely the holy family's avoiding danger. Matthew tells us that the flight fulfilled God's prophetic word Matt.
Here's a second way you can make good use of these ""in between"" days so as to finish well. If you're like most people, you probably didn't have enough time to visit with everyone during the holidays. Why not invite some of those people over for an informal time of fellowship this weekend? You might even enjoy one another's company more without the pressure of the Christmas rush. Brand names command value because consumers want to have confidence that they are getting quality for their money. And in resisting the temptations in the wilderness, Jesus proved His right to such affirmation.
John the Baptist knew Jesus was coming. He prepared the way, preaching that people must repent from sin to enter the kingdom of heaven. He must have touched a spiritual nerve, for many responded to his call. He told the crowds that another would come—one more powerful, with a superior baptism, and with authority to judge Mt — Why did Jesus ask John to baptize Him? It seems that early Christian baptisms imitated this Jewish model. It signified a complete change from the former way of life. Baptizing Jews as opposed to Gentiles was apparently unique to his ministry. Jesus also viewed His baptism as an act of consecration and obedience, and God heartily approved Mt His statement that Jesus would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit looked forward to Pentecost Mt From the beginning of the Church at the day of Pentecost, believers in Christ were baptized Acts In Acts, baptism often immediately followed conversion Acts ; Some biblical scholars see baptism specifically as an image of the burial—resurrection motif Rom.
If you consider yourself a follower of Christ but have never been baptized, make plans to take this step of obedience without delay. Talk to your pastor or another church leader to find out what you need to do. You may need to take a preparatory class, interview with the pastor, or write out your testimony. Many poets have likened spirits, human and divine, to birds. John does not necessarily mean that the Spirit took the shape of a bird. Perhaps the fast dive from the open cloud, the grace of motion, an impression of white, led John to liken this lightning-quick Presence to a dove.
The dove, of course, has Old Testament significance. And doves, emblems of purity and meekness, were considered a clean bird, appropriate for temple sacrifices. Indeed, as a baby, Jesus was consecrated at the temple with the sacrifice of two doves or pigeons Luke How appropriate, then, for the Spirit to fall like a dove on Jesus, Himself peacemaker and truly pure sacrifice. As we begin to reflect on the images of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, ask yourself what images you have of the Holy Spirit. Here is. The move has been seen as signaling that James Murdoch will be the heir of Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire.
Our passage has a far more dramatic pronouncement from a Father about His Son. In the opening verses we meet John the Baptist, preaching repentance in the desert and drawing great crowds.
RAR. Zu: Der Stern Von Bethlehem, Mt 2, (German Edition)
For the first time in Matthew's Gospel we encounter the Pharisees and Sadducees, characters who recur throughout the book. John the Baptist charged them with hypocrisy: it wasn't enough to undergo a ritual in order to claim a spiritual heritage. Their lives and actions needed to match their professions of repentance Mt John refused to baptize the Pharisees and Sadducees because they would not repent.
He also hesitated to baptize Jesus—because Jesus had no need to repent.
He was without sin; indeed, He was the promised One who would bring in the kingdom of heaven. Why would He be baptized? Some scholars suggest that He demonstrated His commitment to what He would call His followers to do see Matt. Others see His baptism as identification with humanity whom He came to save. Obedience is the hallmark of the Son, as confirmed by the divine pronouncement. Here Jesus was empowered by the Spirit as He began His public ministry. John the Baptist announced that repentance was necessary because the kingdom of heaven was near Mt The world then, as now, had corrupt rulers, lifeless religions, and suffering.
John did not, however, exhort his hearers to live differently and thereby change the world. Rather, he urged them to recognize that the world was being changed—the old order was being upended—and therefore they needed to repent in order to receive forgiveness and restoration. Are we willing to repent and submit to the power of Jesus?
It is an outward mark of an interior change. Or at least it ought to be, according to John the Baptist. John prepared the way of the Lord by calling people to repentance Mt Matthew reports that people from all over the Jordan region came to him to be baptized. Why, then, does he rebuke the religious leaders who approached him, presumably for baptism? Without inward repentance, the sign of baptism is void. Urging them to produce evidence--fruit of their repentance--he warned them against relying on substitutes.
One false substitute for repentance is reliance on lineage. This active faith is the New Testament qualification for membership in the kingdom of God. Another false substitute is reliance on the sign and not the reality. Baptism reminds us of our forgiveness from sins and makes a public statement about our entry into the body of Christ, the church. Perhaps the most celebrated coronation in western Europe's history occurred on Christmas Day, A. After Leo crowned Charlemagne, the crowd shouted, ""To Charles Augustus, crowned of God, great and pacific emperor of the Romans, life and victory.
I'm not sure if the crowds shouted when John baptized Jesus, but it was definitely a turning point in Jesus' ministry. To the people of His day, Jesus was merely the son of Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth. And to many people today, He is simply a historical figure. But those who are willing to trace the Savior's roots discover that the Bible teaches His true identity. As the second Person of the eternal Godhead, Jesus has no beginning and no end Jn.
And even Jesus' brief earthly ministry did not simply begin at His birth, or at His baptism. In the eternal plan of God, Jesus was already the Lamb of God, ""slain from the creation of the world"" Rev. Jesus' ministry was prophesied extensively in the Old Testament. This month, we are considering one important set of these prophecies, Isaiah's Servant Songs, alongside the correlating New Testament passages. The opening of the first Servant Song, as we saw earlier, reveals one vital detail of Jesus' earthly ministry Isa.
That prophecy finds its fulfillment in Jesus' baptism by John Mt. Jesus submitted to baptism, not as an admission of sin, but to identify with the message of righteousness that John was preaching. One of the greatest blessings available to us today through Christ's finished work is experiencing the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord 2006
Every believer can live a Spirit-filled life. In fact, we are commanded to be filled Eph. If you are a believer, you already possess the Holy Spirit. The issue in His filling is whether you are giving Him control of your life on a day-to-day basis. After the baptism that John preached. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. Every four years, on January 20, the President of the United States is inaugurated, taking an oath to uphold the presidential office and the Constitution.
Although the outcome of the November election determines who will be president, this individual doesn't officially become President until the inauguration. The inaugural oath and ceremony mark the official beginning of what has already been determined by election. This provides a helpful parallel to Jesus' baptism. Jesus was already the Messiah, and John's baptism marked the public beginning and divine anointing of His atoning work. Jesus has always been and will always be the Messiah.
But since He was taking on human flesh fully, He needed to identify completely with humanity. His baptism showed His total dependence upon God's Spirit and power. It was only when John understood this that he consented to baptize Jesus Matt. The Gospels make it clear that Jesus relied upon the Spirit before His public ministry began.
But the Gospel accounts don't record any significant ministry or miraculous activity in Jesus' life prior to Spirit's descent and the public declaration of His divine sonship. Jesus' baptism showed that He willingly chose to depend on God's Spirit, even to the point of death. Recall how Isaiah predicted that God's promised Servant would be completely led by His Spirit, promises fulfilled in Jesus' life. Notice that John's water baptism was inferior to the baptism that Jesus would perform with the Holy Spirit John There is a connection between John's baptism of Jesus and Pentecost see Acts 2.
If Jesus, eternally God, humbled Himself to live fully dependent upon God's Spirit, how much more should the same be true for us, His followers? The Holy Spirit confirmed Jesus' ministry during His baptism. Have you ever embarked on a ministry project in your own strength and power without seeking the guidance of the Spirit?
When we are following His call and living obediently to His commands, the Spirit will indeed confirm that our ministry is well-pleasing to Him. In the biblical account of creation, the three persons of the Trinity each play a distinct role. God presumably the Father spoke the light into existence Gen. The Spirit of God hovered over the waters that had yet to take shape—even at the dawn of time, the movement of the Holy Spirit was best described with a word that expressed the flight of a bird on the wing Gen. The Spirit descended on the Son, and the Father spoke His approval v.
The scene of that rare display of the eternal majesty of the Trinity converging in an earth-bound setting tells us something about the importance of what was about to take place. John spoke correctly when he professed his need to be baptized by Jesus v. Without sin, Jesus had nothing for which to repent. Led and filled by the Spirit, Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted Matt. We associate the image of a dove with peace and hope—fitting, since Jesus assuredly received it as He faced this trial at the outset of His ministry. Depending on the Spirit is no sign of weakness! Somewhere in the history of organized sports, a coaching staff tried out a new theory.
These coaches reasoned that taking their teams away the night before a big game and putting the athletes up in a hotel gave them a competitive advantage. They felt that this cloistering would remove the athletes from the distractions of everyday life and allow the team to focus more thoroughly on the game ahead. For decades, this has been a common practice among both college and professional teams.
Jesus knew the value of concentrating on the task at hand, and He prepared for His contest with Satan as no person has ever prepared before or since. Forty days alone in the desert not only removed Jesus from every human contact that would demand His attention; by fasting, Jesus even said ""no"" to normal human needs in order to prepare Himself for the devil's looming temptations. The temptation of our Lord allows us a glimpse at a level of spiritual warfare we would otherwise know nothing about. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in the same ways we are tempted Heb.
For example, we are often tempted to sell out in our worship, but Satan has never offered us all the kingdoms of the world in return for our homage Matt. Jesus' final temptation was another attempt by Satan to gain what he has always wanted: to be worshiped as God Isa. Today's text reveals a fact you have probably experienced if you have been a believer for very long. When you decided to worship God, you became embroiled in the struggle of the ages: the cosmic contest between God and Satan for the hearts and minds of mankind.
Are you being tempted to worship power, position, pleasure, possessions, or anything at all other than God? Congratulations, you are normal! In fact, if you never feel tempted, you may want to check your spiritual pulse. The isse for believers is not whether we will be tempted, but how we will handle the temptations that are sure to come. Before dealing with the devil, Jesus spent forty days and nights worshiping the Father through fasting, prayer, and solitude.
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. How's Your Navigation System? When dropped in strange waters more than twenty miles from their original locations, they invariably head for home, typically a coral reef. How do they do it? Though scientists are unclear exactly how the process works, the results are clear.
These lobsters measure up with spawning salmon and homing pigeons as some of the top navigators in the animal kingdom! Specifically, Jesus cited three quotations from Deuteronomy, a book of sermons by Moses that shows the heart of the Law. Against the temptation of physical hunger or weakness, He asserted faith in true provision Mt And against the temptation of compromise or idolatry, He asserted the necessity of true worship Mt On this special occasion, the Spirit led Jesus alone into the wilderness to be tested, or proven, as Messiah v.
Though in Greek they are the same, our English word tested is better than tempted in this context, for we know that while God gives tests and trials, He does not tempt us to sin see James — Since Scripture is the best weapon for fighting temptation, our suggested application today is to read more of it!
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Choose one of these books of the Bible—Colossians, Hebrews, or Revelation. Then look for Christ in it. Forty days alone in the desert not only removed Jesus from every human contact or since. Recent studies claim that the average child has seen over 30, TV ads by first grade.
Think of it! Advertising is probably the most powerful form of temptation that we face today, often presenting attractive objects for worship, although we rarely think of it this way. Our Lord Himself faced the temptation to worship something, or someone, other than God.
Matthew says that Jesus was in the desert being tempted by the Devil. Recall that while the people wandered in the wilderness, they stopped trusting the Lord and fashioned a golden calf idol see Dec. Notice that Satan invited Jesus to abuse His divine power for His own ends. We know that Jesus could have easily turned stone into bread, just as He fed over five thousand John 6.
Second, Satan invited Jesus to presume upon His unique relationship with the Father. Satan correctly quoted Psalm —12, but out of context. This was exactly what the Israelites had done in the wilderness.
Finally, Satan invited Jesus to receive all earthly authority, but at the terrible price of worshiping him. To worship anyone other than the Lord God was complete blasphemy. Second, we worship Jesus because He is the model for how we face temptation. This passage teaches once again the only One worthy of our worship is the Lord Jesus Christ.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal told of a man living in Taiwan who claims the title of governor of Fukien Province. The problem is that Fukien, which is on the Chinese mainland, already has a governor who rules the affairs of its 27 million citizens. The other man's claim goes back to , when the Nationalists fled China for Taiwan then known as Formosa after their defeat by the Chinese Communists. The bottom line is that this Taiwanese man's claim to rule Fukien Province is essentially worthless. He has an office and a staff and carries on as if he were governor.
But he has no real authority to rule at all. Satan has also been carrying on as if he were a legitimate ruler. But at the temptation of Christ Satan's claims were proven to be false, and he was exposed as a temporary usurper. The analogy doesn't hold at every point, of course. Unlike the ""governor"" in today's illustration, Satan does have real power. And at least for now, the kingdoms of the unbelieving world do lie in the devil's lap. But one day Jesus Christ will return as Ruler of all.
The temptation of Christ is an example of spiritual warfare without parallel. We can only read the text and watch awestruck as Jesus engages Satan in face-to-face battle. We do not believe that it was even possible for the sinless Son of God to yield to Satan's offers. For that we can be eternally grateful! Whereas Adam and Eve had fallen to the serpent's temptation, there in the desert Jesus refused the temptation to bypass the cross. He also refused to go outside of the Father's will for His physical needs of food and protection.
We will never be tested to the same degree or with the same effects as Jesus was tested. But because He experienced temptation, He is sympathetic to us in our need Heb. And we can imitate Jesus' example by drawing on God's Word to refute and defeat Satan. If you want to turn today into an extraordinary Monday, consider the benefits available to you because Jesus endured and triumphed over temptation.
When he wrote the companion volume, Paradise Regained, the story of course featured Christ, the second Adam. Instead, it dramatizes His temptation by Satan in the wilderness. Because of His perfect obedience, the doors of heaven are open for all who believe. With what did Satan tempt Christ? First, with physical need. He was hungry, and Satan suggested He make bread from stones. Second, with personal glory. If He jumped from the Temple, He would step into the sandals of the kind of Messiah everyone was expecting.
And third, with immediate power. Satan offered Him all the kingdoms of this world. How did our Lord respond? In all three cases, with quotations from Deuteronomy. Compromise was out of the question. James President Lyndon Johnson once grew agitated during a lunchtime prayer given by his press secretary, Bill Moyers. I can't hear a thing! President, I wasn't addressing you. Johnson wasn't the first, nor will he be the last, to ascribe to himself that which truly belongs to God.
Satan, the author of the bad-boy mentality, made it his mission to steal attention from God and feed his obsession to be worshiped. Satan blatantly displayed his greed for glory when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. The specific temptations listed in the Gospel of Matthew walk us through the stages of Satan's own wickedness, a circuit of self-centeredness that can be so appealing and so deadly to us all.
Satan's first tactic was to tempt Christ to focus on His own needs and wants instead of His God-given mission. What an easy trap to fall into when masked by something as innocent as meeting basic needs for survival! But the test wasn't really about bread or survival. Satan wanted Jesus to use His supernatural power to gratify His own desires, a routine practice for Satan and a form of self-worship.
Satan then tried to persuade Christ to doubt God, but he disguised the motivation of doubt as an expression of faith: cast yourself toward the ground if You are the Son of God. He quoted Deuteronomy , a reference to Israel's quarrelsome demands for water in Exodus Their demand for proof was the product of doubt. Again, to doubt God is to esteem your own understanding above His Word, a dangerous expression of self-worth. Finally, Satan tempted Jesus to worship him, a ploy that only could work on someone who had fallen for the first two temptations.
This last plea revealed the depth of Satan's wicked delusions. We all run the risk of making Satan's mistake, and if we're not careful, it can become a lifestyle. Examine your service, your trust, and your worship. Who is the beneficiary of your efforts? Do you rest assured in the Lord's promises, or are you repeatedly asking God to prove Himself? Finally, whom do you worship in your heart? Nach fast 10h Entwicklungsarbeit ist der Stern von Bethlehem - Milchstern - Ornithogalum endlich fertig. Das Herrenhaus im Frostigen Stil! Die Weisen suchen den Christus und landen bei Herodes.
Der schickt sie, das Kind zu finden, weil er Angst vor ihm hat. Und das zu Recht. Es wird immer Widerstand geben gegen sie. Manchmal beginnt er eben ganz klein. Mal sehen Noch Tage bis die Konzert-Tour wieder beginnt. Heute waren die drei Weisen aus dem Morgenland bei uns. Die Sternsinger von St. Michael besuchen vom 2. Exemplarisch werden bei der aktuellen Aktion Sternsinger-Projekte aus Peru vorgestellt. Kondensstreifen oder Stern von Bethlehem? Bei uns sind die heiligen drei jetzt unterwegs..
Und wie sieht der Jahreszeitentisch bei euch gerade aus? Islay Woollen Mill. Hamburg, Germany. Volkmarst, Niedersachsen, Germany.
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Related Zu: Der Stern von Bethlehem, Mt 2,1-12 (German Edition)
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